Phil Lawler offers his analysis of the reaction to Pope Benedict’s speech in Regensburg, and says that, while the Pope obviously did not intend to insult Muslims, he intended to challenge them even as he was challenging the secular world at the same time.
The content of that challenge was clear enough: The Pope was telling the world of Islam that dialogue between religious faiths is possible only if both sides respect the rule of reason.
... To identify God with human reason is to challenge the modern secular world, which thinks of reason as a mathematical process thoroughly divorced from religious faith. But that is precisely the thrust of the Pope’s Regensburg lecture. And from all available evidence, it is a challenge that will become a main theme of this pontificate.
Pope Benedict may not have used a proper diplomatic formula in issuing his challenge to the Islamic world. But diplomacy is not his top priority—as he demonstrated by appointing a non-diplomat to become his Secretary of State. The main mission of Benedict XVI is to evangelize: to coax the world into a fresh consideration of Christian truths.
If you think about it, this is right in line with Pope Benedict’s statement right before his election that we are oppressed by a “dictatorship of relativism” and with his first encyclical on “God is love.” Love and reason must go hand in hand. Love without reason is passion unrestrained and madness; it is also zealotry. Reason without love is cold, calculating, and inhuman. I think Phil is right.
Pope Benedict is challenging the world, knowing the role of the Pope is not one of political leader or diplomat, but of the Vicar of Christ. Jesus felt no compunction about challenging others, even if the others would feel insulted or offended. The Lord knows that truth and salvation outweigh petty concerns of bruised ego and feelings.
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